Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Sunday that children need to be back in the classroom this fall in what she called "a matter of their health and well being."
Appearing on CNN, DeVos said the Trump administration is looking at "all the options" for reopening though local officials could postpone in-person classroom instruction in cases of what she called "flareups." But she declined to back off threats by the Trump administration to withhold federal funding of schools if they do not reopen.
DeVos said: "Kids need to be in school. They need to be learning, they need to be moving ahead. And we cannot be paralyzed and not allow that or not be intent on that happening."
DeVos insisted that "there is nothing in the data that would suggest that kids being back in school is dangerous to them." But while the coronavirus has been shown to be less serious in children, experts worry about putting parents and teachers at risk while infections surge.
Appearing on the same CNN program, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called De Vos' comments "a dereliction of duty."
Last week President Trump called for the CDC to relax it's guidelines on opening schools safely — calling them "tough and expensive."
CDC Director Robert Redfield said the agency won't roll back any recommendations, but will provide additional guidelines to help schools proceed.
Contains footage from CNN.